Dear Mark Zuckerberg:

It’s clear you are having some PR issues with the changes you’ve made to Facebook.

Folks like Leo Laporte deleted their accounts. Jason Calacanis is making page view budgets because of these problems. Jeff Jarvis is taunting you on Twitter. People are posting your supposedly private texts from when you were a teenager (I don’t even know if those are real, but they are getting reported as if they are).

You can ignore these issues. They will go away, especially next week when Google gets aggressive at its I/O event and releases a ton of stuff that shifts the pundits attention back to Google’s real market power.

The ones you can’t ignore?

The common feeling that we can’t trust Facebook anymore.

See, I don’t have that problem. I never +did+ trust Facebook, especially after your systems deleted my account a couple of years back. I knew then that we were buying into a system that was not trustworthy. Or, at least, not trustworthy in the way we’ve come to trust software and companies in the past.

That said, I still use Facebook. Most of the people I’ve friended over the years are still using it. And I keep putting more data into it. 400+ million people do. And more, I bet, are coming every day.

Here’s what I would do:

1. Split Facebook into two pieces: one private, one public. We already sort of have that. My private Facebook account is at http://facebook.com/robertscoble while my public one is at http://facebook.com/scobleizer
2. Make the private piece much easier to understand and setup. The New York Times actually exposed something gone very wrong at Facebook: you have too many privacy settings and too many choices. Boil them down to a few choices.
3. Put a third party in charge of “verifying” that privacy settings actually work. For instance, I’m pretty sure you are getting bashed for privacy in some areas wrongly. But the market simply doesn’t believe you on privacy, so get someone who can verify for us that when you set something to be seen only by your mom that it, indeed, is only viewable by your mom.
4. Do a better job of explaining why you are putting more and more emphasis on the public part of Facebook. I know that you get a lot of cool new features when you share your life with people, but most people don’t understand that because most people have never lived in public view before. So, SHOW THEM and show them better than you have been to date. For instance, what happens if you click “like” on a restaurant on Yelp? What does that enable? Or, what happens when you listen to music on Pandora and let your friends see that?
5. Use video to explain what Facebook is. Video is harder to read, yes, but it’s more emotional and it’s easier for you to explain and show some of these features. It’s amazing to me that you haven’t been in the public view since you’ve made these announcements. Get onto Techcrunch TV. Have lunch with Kara Swisher and Om Malik Invite me over your house. Demonstrate that you are public yourself and willing to stand up for the changes you’ve made. VentureBeat is giving you some similar advice.

Or, well, you can just ignore them all. I don’t think it will slow down Facebook at all. Most of the people I’ve talked with really don’t care about this issue or have already figured out what they are going to do about it (I handled it by changing all my privacy settings to as public as possible, others by deleting their accounts, yet others, like my wife, carefully went through the privacy settings and changed them to what they wanted).

Anyway, good luck, I’ll be in Omaha interviewing Matt Mullenweg about the future of WordPress at the Big Omaha conference and maybe I’ll ask him what his advice for you is.

Comments

  1. oh dear, here you admit that your personal account is not as personal as this, you have two accounts, you cheat!?

  2. Robert, the most pertinent advice for Mark would be “Don’t abuse your users’ Trust” ..

  3. The public profile vs private is a good idea. I left Facebook because you only have one real choice, public. In order for that profile to be of benefit you will use your real name. . . so people can find you and vise verse. Creating an account that makes a private and public profile so you can manage friends into two (or more) spaces while having a “front door” entrance via your real name (company) would work much better. . .

  4. Another idea for them: open up for federation. 99.9% of the users won't switch and the few who care can move on to other implementations and other servers that they trust better while still be in a position to communicate with their Facebook friends. You are so big anyway that you have nothing to loose. You will always stay the GMail of social networking. Opening up now, with a protocol you design and which fits better your architecture will also put you in a better position than waiting for Buzz, joindiaspora, onesocialweb, etc…. to actually succeed,

  5. That ain't gonna happen. Nice pipe dream, though. Even if Zuck wanted it to happen the data flows are too huge and the privacy contracts too convoluted. Some things will be federated over time, because of the opening up of the API, though. Check out http://graph.facebook.com/scobleizer and you'll see the data you can federate already.

  6. I certainly wonder what Zuckerberg's headspace is right now. Does he actually want advice on this or is he taking an arrogant position? He should be more public about this stuff, video is a great way for him to reassure those that think Facebook “is” the Internet..

  7. I would challenge that, both on the technical feasibility and privacy issues. Wave is a good example doing this in a scalable and privacy aware way. I'm expecting lots on Buzz next week. And by the way.. don't forget to catchup with me for a onesocialweb demo next week :-)

  8. The problem we have with giving Facebook the benefit of the doubt is that most folks don't have two Facebook accounts. They have one that they set up as private and intended to keep private. Facebook intentionally forced it to public despite assurances that they wouldn't do so. Even Zuckerburg's own account became public for a period of time. And Facebook made it next to impossible for mere mortals to get their privacy back. That was intentional and looks pretty clearly to have been done with carefully engineered obfuscation to force folks into shifting from private to public accounts. That's why everyone is pissed.

  9. Agree with most of the post but I have to disagree with the “Video is harder to read, yes, but it’s more emotional” part.

    Would agree if it was somebody else but Mark Zuckerberg talks and moves like a robot, video would not help him much. (My remark Is not supposed to be a joke, the “Zuckerborg” term fits him perfectly)

  10. Well, the old idea of “no publicity is bad publicity” is probably working in Facebook's favor right now. I imagine something big enough will have to happen with Facebook in the coming weeks that will take the focus off Zuckerberg personally.

  11. Good ideas here Robert! Facebook implemented changes too quickly and startled everyone. I've know for a long while they HAD to go this direction in order to truly own the web, which appears to be their primary goal.

    I don't post overly personal items only on ANY website. I recommend that everyone. The internet is NOT your diary :) think about that … it makes sense. People should never trust the “internet” with private details.

    The problem for Facebook is that they started out as a private platform, inviting folks to post private things and then they ripped the doors off and left their customers standing their bare naked – not cool. ;)

    Facebook really needs to address the overly complicated privacy settings as well. I graduated from UCLA law school and those setting actually look like they were cooked up from a policy board meeting… no joke. The UI is atrocious and confusing… needs overhaul asap.

    Thanks … always good to read your blog Robert :)

    @SusanBeebe
    http://SusanBeebe.com

  12. lol I was not commenting on the product and agree with you :-) Just the fact that federation does scales, even in a realtime scenario like Wave. I don't see the flow of data an issue compared to web load, API load, RSS polling, etc…. This is just a techie issue that can be solved. The challenge is in the business model behind opening up.

  13. Use video to explain what Facebook is.

    That's already being done… at least to an extent. Probably not enough to satisfy your demands though.

    I've been seeing a need for a long time for a new network to come out. Absolutely, things need to be simpler. If a network comes out with the simplicity of Twitter with the graphics of FriendFeed with the in-depth atmosphere of Buzz with the functionality of Facebook, it will probably blow the current ones out of the water. Unfortunately, it won't happen any time soon, unless we get someone like Jason Fried onto it. Most people just don't get it.

    It's cute writing to Zuckerberg like this, but honestly he'll probably never even see the link. There's growing resentment/discontent, there is no question about it.

  14. Wave does NOT scale. Everyone who works at Google knows they spent the last eight months trying to scale Wave up to support the measly demand they already had. Again, give me a break. It's the slowest piece of crap I've ever used.

  15. Let me take another example then: email. Don't you believe we can have a social networking equivalent to SMTP and POP3 ?

  16. I think maintaining privacy expectations in the modern age is a bit foolish. Facebook (or any other social network that emerges) is going to face pressures from advertisers to increasingly open up their data, http://www.dirtyphonebook.com and others enable people to write anything about anybody without any consent, and Google is like a big elephant, it never forgets. Maintaining privacy expectations in this age is very much a pipe-dream. The world has changed. Deal with it.

  17. 'Split Facebook into two pieces: one private, one public.' – great advice! The analogy in the microblogging world is more or less existing: Yammer for private (ok, corporate; but still private); and Twitter for public. Easy to understand and believe, and used in that way more by increasing number of people.

  18. XMPP does. No clue if we will achieve anything with onesocialweb but we are trying and would love to have this kind of discussion with you about this. Ping me if you are around SF and having some time next week.

  19. I disagree. In the end it is a messaging service. Pushing social notifications to inboxes of people following some rules defined by privacy and user choices (filtering). Not so different than email.

  20. You're one of 400 million people… you SERIOUSLY think he'll read past the first sentence? He's running a multi-billion dollar company with little or no time to see what bloggers are writing… unless you're a super super high profile guy (Are you?)

  21. Great post Scoble but I think Facebook is beyond the concerns of the tech elite. The digerati can move on to Diaspora while the rest of the world continues to poke, update their statuses and share pictures on Facebook. I think it's important that some continue to hold its feet to the fire over privacy though, but I don't know how big of an impact that will have.

  22. What about all these Facebook alternatives I've seen recently? Sites like Diaspora seem to also be riding this wave of Facebook discontent. I can't tell if this is happening because are pissed at Facebook over privacy or if its some sort of personal attack on Zuckerberg (shessh 90% of what Calacainis wrote seemed personal to me). Am I seeing things here?

    And, you know I think the privacy thing has been done to death – there is a picture on Facebook of me in my underwear – its in there. Good luck finding it though. People need to untag, and move on. :)

  23. Robert, Some very wise advice here for Mark to come out into the open and address the mounting concerns of many Facebook users – if he doesn't then defections will increase and Facebook might ultimately find their users dwindling rather than increasing. Personally, I only joined Facebook recently and in the midst of the furore about privacy so I knew the score but I can understand how longtime users will feel betrayed, having created their space in the expectation that access would remain privileged.

    If Mark listens and responds accordingly then maybe he would be in line for the Scoble Prize :-)

  24. I completely agree with Carla “Maintaining privacy expectations in this age is very much a pipe-dream”. We need to realize that posting on the web…is just going to be public. If you want to keep it private, keep it entirely off the web entirely. In this day and age with everything search able…what's the point of trying to maintain privacy?

  25. Zuckerberg may be listening but until this afternoon, we won't know what *actions* Facebook will take. And yes, Google is next in the spotlight, but Google has a lot more friends and at least has *some* competent management. I've seen no evidence of actual competence from Facebook the past week.

    Yes, I deleted my Facebook account, so it's of little interest to me what happens at this afternoon's meeting. But it's not just about privacy and it's not just about trust and it's not just about Facebook. The whole industry is at risk, and I don't think it's going to be pretty. Nobody is too big to fail any more.

  26. Rather than create 2 completely separate versions of Facebook, FB really could easily put it to a straight, per user “vote” on their next login, here’s how:

    1) “I want everything to be completely private, no one but my friends sees nothing. 2) “I want everything to be completely open. 3) “I want to muddle through with the detailed settings somewhere in the middle,which will be my responsibiliy.

    — And then arrange people’s detail settings accordingly. My bet would be on about 80% opting for “private”. Either way, everyone could be happy with their choices again. But of course FB is not going to do that. That would be giving too much control/mastery back to the users…

    Facebooks bizarre problem seems to be its insistence that everybody should be/think the same.

    And unless there later is a trojan horse ad system to be launched through “Open” Graph (after site owners have gotten so used to the extra traffic they may be getting from FB, even though click-through rates from within FB are still very low at this point, and thus would be less likely to resist by turning it back off), there really is no compelling reason for FB to open things up so much:

    They already had most of the data they ever needed to target you with Facebook Ads. Why spread things around so much?

  27. I have one account, but two instances. One is private, one is public. This is done for brands and celebrities and others who want a very public page.

    1. so why say you put your profile in public while you have another private? Your purpose is distorted …

  28. I know Mark personally and am one of his Facebook friends. I've spent hours with him in the past, and can get his attention. You might do some google searches on me to see what I do.

  29. I wonder where MySpace is in all this? Now's the time for them to strike back, and give the world a better, more adult, version.

  30. Well… you officially work at RackSpace, you used to work for Microsoft… I'm not sure what Facebook has to do with that really. But personally knowing Zuckerberg would be pretty neat I guess.

  31. LoL… the dispute with Martyn Chamberlin is fantastic…
    Anyway, to come back to the topic, Facebook needs to embrace open and transparent standards such as http://www.dataportability.org/ and, furthermore, help them to develop. FB will probably not, since has demonstrated being bully and unfair to it's members (I'm a member too, but I'm getting more and more of the idea of dropping my private account) and this will lead to being superseded by new competitors that will (in a long term vision).
    I'm really confident that a Freedom movement will suceed in advertise crowds the importance of Ethical services.

  32. I am curious to know what Mark wants Facebook to be. The problem is that if he wants it to be the next Google and twitter and foursquare and myspace (okay, scratch that), he is going to lose focus and end up making a mess. The Facebook of today is extremely different from the one I signed up for. The “trust” factor is so low that every time a big update rolls out, I go to my profile and start adjusting the new settings. I almost expect things to be less private as time progresses.
    Most recently, I have been plagued by Facebook to update my alternate email address and location and networks. Why?. Why does Facebook want more from me than what I am willing to give?

  33. Great discussion between you and eschnou, although… Would you know of any references explaining why it's so hard to scale?

    I'm assuming Google staffed great coders on Wave, so it seems that it is that federation (or platforming, or opening) makes privacy too convoluted to scale, no matter how good you are. I simply have a hard time making sense of why.

  34. Watched it live: amazing video — I was half petrified at your disregard for everyone there, and half thrilled at your dare, excited at how all the grown-ups stared at your adolescent misbehaving, scrolling around; good thing you ended that renewed “journalist only” format. Although, you needed a stand badly: motion sickness was killing me. Ever used a string with a screw attached in the stand bolt of your camera, as a mobile, flexible stand?

  35. “Or you can just ignore them all” is a terrible idea, Robert. You underestimate the ability of the “unwashed masses” to put their collective foot down when enough is enough.

    Disenchantment and distrust of Facebook is no longer exclusive to nerds. My local Fox affiliate ran a story on Diaspora the other night, for chrissakes; that's just one step below Regis and Kelly having a vim vs Emacs argument on the WTF-scale. People care about this, and ignoring them isn't going to keep working.

  36. Susan, I disagree that they “had to” go in this direction. In fact, one could argue that they could have continued to tout themselves as the most trusted/private place on the Web, where you and your friends can hang out in relative peace.

    They already had all of the targeting data on you they ever really needed, and even the new Like buttons could have been launched in a way that was going to be a bit less open, while still getting the targeting data. Most Web site owners would still be installing it if it just said “x-hundred / thousand” people Like this…” without potentially handing over the social graph to that site as well. Etc.

    But somehow Zuck wants to be more like Twitter, and indirectly challenge Google through a new form of search. But engagement on Twitter has been dropping in the last 6 months, so it isn't at all proven that people long term want (or at least can sustain) the more high-rate real-time flow without getting burned out.

    Go to Refollow.com sometimes and check for >90 days abandoned accounts in your follower list. You may be shocked how many people have dropped out, and I am not talking newbies either. People that had really used and invested time and energy into Twitter.

    And Twitter has yet to prove that ads against Twitter Search and beyond will ultimately work, while Facebook Ads have been generating $2/unique/year for them vs. Google's $18.

    In my mind Zuck and co. with this latest iteration have been building a “solution” without fully understanding the problem. The problem is that most people/users just don't want to see more ads, however targeted, unless they are in buying mode, which they're largely NOT in a social context.

    Question is, if FB later opts for an Adsense like ad “Trojan Horse” through the OpenGraph embeds on sites, would site owners acquiesce in a cut of the PPC revenue any smaller than what Google pays for Adsense. Because if it's the same cut, then FB is back to square one, as Google makes a fraction on Adsense compared to Adwords search ads due to the revenue share (70-80% payout).

  37. A private and a public Facebook? I don't think so. Who (apart from you, of course!) has the time to maintain two Facebook accounts? Who has the time to switch profiles, or mark something private or public every time they share something? And BTW, I already have a public Facebook – it's called Twitter.

    Having said that, Facebook is between a rock and a hard place. They have to either charge a fee to use the service (and lose users in the process) OR constrain privacy to monetize through other means. I'd rather pay $10/month to use Facebook, block Farmville messages, and keep my privacy. How many others will do the same?

    @shyamster

  38. Martyn,

    Scoble is among the handful of all-access bloggers (the names are in his post): most weren't so impressed when he casually adressed French Minister for Finance (Scoble, you are not *that* famous) but he can undoubtedly call anyone in IT and be heard. Look at Zuckerberg's squint to him on this video http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6341975.

    Among that handful, he is “the nice guy”, the one asking questions and listening to the whole answer, with a loving, broad smile, and the (one who will pretend to be the) average user: in the middle of a PR crisis, that's the perfect guy to go to, to be given the opportunity to explain something as delicate as the current misunderstandings. He's not the go-to guy to reach the majority of Facebook users (mainstream media would be) but the majority of the protests coes from geekier users, so he's a good bet to start apologizing and announce changing enough kinks to appease the crowd. Most others would most likely have a field day challenging Zuckerberg's ethics.
    I don't think Scoble is the best to discuss with about what is the problem: he is a very public persona with presumably no connection or photos that could damage his reputation (at least, any further than he willfully does himself), he has very uncommon concerns about how to use Facebook, etc. but those decisions about what to change will happen internally, and the all-hands meeting. Scoble offers PR help: how to announce those changes; his spontaneous, shaky screen-side videos of CTOs are very humanizing: he could make Dr. Evil look like a clumsy geek apologizing for typo-ing out the Earth into ashes.

    (Scoble, sorry for high-jacking your blog there—but introductions need to be done by a third party, and Google sucks at putting things into context.)

  39. Good! So now we know what he is doing during the two and a half hours each day that he doesn't post to his public account. And me who though he was sleeping…

  40. Robert,

    People are experiencing all these problems because they view Facebook (and Twitter) as “social” networks. If one views them as marketing networks, you wouldn't want privacy–you'd want publicity. :-)

    As I said at Sacred Heart, Facebook is a way to show what a great student and job applicant you are.

    Guy

  41. I'm confused. How couldn't anyone post something on the web and think it won't be seen by others? Secure transactions aside, posting in inherently public, is it not?

  42. I don't think Facebook needs to split into a public and private version or public/private accounts. That wouldn't really support the business model they are clearly pursuing, either. The draw to users is primarily the private stuff–keeping up with your friends. The opportunity for Facebook is getting business content in the user's feed along with all their friend's posts–and getting businesses to pay for that. We may not like it, but it makes sense. That's prime real estate there.

    Facebook could go a long way, though, by just improving their List feature and making it easier to use. They could change their UI to make it easier for people to create and manage Lists and make them a more natural part of the user experience on Facebook. Change the Share drop-down to include all your Lists in the top-level of the drop-down, instead of the convoluted process it takes now to share a post with just one set of friends.

    If they did that, they would actually get more people using Facebook for both business and personal use, because they would have easy control over what their professional contacts versus their personal contacts saw. It would help them better achieve their business/revenue goals. Wake up, Zuckerberg!

  43. Guy, I agree, that for some – Facebook is a marketing platform. Not all, but some.
    95% of my Friends on FB should really be “Fans” of my Page.
    I want no privacy on my FB Page – it's a very public way for me to engage with others without having them “friend” me.
    Given that, I'd like to see a change in how FB pages play with others.
    My FB Page can't be a fan of another FB Page (but it should).

  44. You don't understand how Facebook works. I have two pages. One, my profile, is not as open as my public page, which is open to everyone. On my profile I have set my privacy settings to “as public as they can be.”

  45. You'd be surprised what can be distributed through massively parallel differencing filters. Think about how the optical center of our brain registers knowledge of the 3 dimensional world around us. Do you think one Node rules them all when it comes to optimal signal processing? Maybe fully distributed soc nets aren't mainstream today, but to call them impossible is silly.

    Optimal replication of digital information is in it's infancy. Consider something like git & drop box. Efficient use of hash values, and distributed synchronization can enable concurrent state. I write scobleizer and every subscribing node is pushed the update not by one central server, but through a cascading waterfall of connected read/write nodes.

    A distributed soc net is like a database that allows concurrent writes from many simultaneous users. Collisions will happen but smart merging rules allow for meaningful conversation cohesion.

    I admit I'm dreaming, but it's based on a philosophy that empowers communication at the level of nodes. I think that's an important part of what makes the web so wonderful

  46. I don't get why, given what you have written recently, you would need or want a private instance of your account. Didn't you just write that you wish Facebook was more public and that it had no privacy at all? If that's the case, what could possibly justify your need for a private instance of your Facebook account?

    P.S. I was forced by Disqus to sign in, because their “Sign in as a Guest” option doesn't work. How appropriate. My post hasn't changed by being forced to sign in though. Nor my integrity. Just my respect for Disqus.

  47. “Still not sure what's what.”

    This is the problem I'm having. My mom, sister, cousins and other non-Geeky family members are calling and emailing me like crazy. They read stories regarding their privacy that they don't understand, and get completely and utterly lost when they attempt to make changes to their settings on Facebook itself.

    The people who are “average” computer/Internet users are struggling to figure out what they are supposed to do… where… and how. Hell, they aren't even sure WHY at this point.

    As has been said before… if you don't want the world to know something about you, then shut the heck up and don't tell anyone. Don't post about it online ANYWHERE. That is the only way to guarantee that something will stay private.

    And as far as Scoble himself is concerned: After spending time with Robert in person on a couple of occasions, I can say with certainty that he is far more genuine than most people realize. He will get down to the nitty gritty and pulls no punches. He can be ruthless when he goes after the truth of a story. He speaks his mind even when he knows others aren't going to like what he has to say.

    HOWEVER

    He does all of those things with a smile, and a real passion for the subjects at hand. He is fair and honest (perhaps brutally so). Those things that some people “slam” him for are the exact reasons that I follow and admire him.

    And Zuck… when you read this (and I know you will) – for the love of god PLEASE figure out some damn way to get my mother off my back about her Facebook page. Kthx bai!

  48. This would certainly help a lot, but for me it's an emotional issue as well, and I think that one aspect of what's going on is that the early adapters are feeling the same way. When we jumped on the bandwagon, it was exclusive, and the private policy reflected that, your suggestions here would certainly help the feeling that I am not being respected as a client who uses their product.

    My other big issue with Facebook is that they own everything I do on their network. I don't think that this is not something that they are likely to change and that issue bothers me as much as the privacy issues.

    I would love to see an decentralized network arise, I don't know if diaspora can do it right because they'll have to make it accessible and easy to set up to non-geeks as well. I think that your suggestion of a public profile and a private one could be done nicely, with only a few minor tweaks, via a platform such as WordPress.

    Thanks, as alway, for your insights.

  49. Once again Chris, you've hit the nail on the head. The choice of privacy lies with the user. Same reason I've often been careful about what I put on facebook, and the internet at all, for that matter. I'm not going to be leaving facebook just yet. They haven't given me a reason to leave, because I haven't given them any thing that I consider private or precious.

    I've never thought of facebook as a private place because to me it lost it's privacy when my friends joined and I connected with them.

  50. Dear Mr Scoble,

    It is clear that you have Facebook's back and this is causing PR issues for your blog. People, other than myself, are getting increasingly uncomfortable with your support for a company which has so obviously shown disdain for concerns of its users. Here is what I would do, I would acknowledge that Facebook has jumped over the precipice of trust. Gravity will do the rest. The product is no longer remarkable, as it was the comfort of being part of a large network combined with the privacy it afforded that distinguished it from all the other web based businesses. That is gone. Trust took 400 million users to build and one management decision to break. It is will be very hard to rebuild. It seems Zuckerberg has a reported track record of breaching trust it seems even at the foundation stages of the company. Why should we believe anything he says to reassure us now? I believe it is incumbent upon the users to set an example for all future companies that build a business with a set of implicit promises with a clear intention of not keeping them to not reward for poor behaviour. By teaching Facebook a lesson today, we may have more transparent and trustworthy web experience tomorrow. Let the switch begin.

  51. Exactly Robert, most people have already sorted themselves out. The agenda, take the shot first. The rest will follow. ( @Jason's video was out a couple of days ago) I never trust anyone with my data in the first place, i mean we have personal mobile data being sold at mexican flea markets these days.

    Cmon people, trust is OVERRATED in this day and age. The next thing ya'll will be saying is that we don't trust our government anymore. We have been HERDED like SHEEP from DAY 1, and everyone is OPENING there eyes NOW?

    Just use the tools to your benefit. Two accounts, now why in the HELL would i give FACEBOOK so much importance….

  52. Cmon people, trust is OVERRATED in this day and age. The next thing ya'll will be saying is that we don't trust our government anymore. We have been HERDED like SHEEP from DAY 1, and everyone is OPENING there eyes NOW?

    Just use the tools to your benefit. Two accounts, now why in the HELL would i give FACEBOOK so much importance….

  53. Howdy Bertil :)
    I think the difficulty is keeping the message data coherent in many distributed views without a big centralized backend. The web is built on RESTful concepts of which the client server model is the first feature (wikipedia). But social web sharing is a billion voices all speaking at once, with many tuning in. Are we all “servers”? Not yet.

  54. Yes, and it's your job as tech pundits to act upon that. I'm rooting for Zucks & Facebook. Ok he got a little greedy, following in the footsteps of many leaders out there.

  55. One thing I think is being missed here- Facebook is obviously providing some value for their services and the data that they are collecting and selling. The problem is that it is a black, one way street. If Facebook were to open up to the user who’s profile is being accessed, a report of who is accessing what data and how often (and then giving it to whom), then the Facebook users could make a more informed decision about their privacy and whether the trade-off is worth it to them. As it is, that’s a black box to the user.

  56. I think the public/private thing for everyone is the way to go. If I had to do my Facebook over I'd do the same deal. Now it's this mishmash of public and private and kind of defaults to public. It should be split so people can have a list of 50 friends with beer pong photos or whatever that will never be opened up and a public view.

  57. I agree with eschnou, the fundamental issue facing our time is greater than Zuck. We have come to understand that we should settle for nothing less than retaining ownership over our metadata about ourselves. We should grant Facebook a non exclusive license to use our data, and only in ways that we approve ahead of time. Facebook should never release another “Feature” without a ballot box which explains what has changed and if there is an opt-out strategy, then users should be able to opt out when they opt-in (Sign in). This is simply too important an issue to ignore any longer. Think about how important this data will be in 10 years.

  58. Remember a few years ago when Google was such the main cheese that people would enter into the web through Google? If you wanted to search for anything, that's where people would often begin – you could just start with Google. When it comes to *people*, people are tending to start now with Facebook. If I want to find someone and figure out what they are like, I'll check for that data on Facebook as the starting place. In the long run, I think Facebook is going to be just that, and only that, a hub for finding people's profile pages, just as it was when it got started. Most of the rest of the data people contribute to the web beyond their basic static profile will likely not be via Facebook in the long run.

  59. Not sure how this explains why e-mail scale with a distributed architecture, while social networks don't: do you mean that fi we had local servers, where most our friends are and some connection outside of those, things could scale?

  60. Forgive me a quick chuckle here, Martyn. Pretty sure everyone knows who Scoble is and the reach he has. :-P

    I hope Mark does take this advice to heart, even if it doesn't create any immediate changes. Privacy issues aside, I like the platform and would hate to see mass abandonment. Definitely an interesting PR case study as well…

  61. Splitting facebook is a bad idea. That was cause way more confusion that its worth. I, like your wife, have set my privacy settings up the way I want them, a mix between public and private.
    It would be a nightmare to have to try and balance that with 2 facebooks.
    PS I use Twitter for most of my “public stuff”

  62. What Facebook needs to do is simply Privacy setting. Manage your privacy via lists would be an idea, for each list, set them to see private or public info. That's all. All the stream would then be public by default unless otherwise stated, like the current photo albums for example. I am sure they have enough brain power to figure out how it works and make it easy for the sheeples to understand and use.

  63. to all our Gods
    from all our peoples
    please bestow blessings
    of optimal inertia dampening
    upon our emerging noosphere

    Network economies are instances of organically complex adaptive systems and as such their designers must be cognizant enough to build in the key recurring survival attribute, trait, common to all functional living system. That trait, being a mechanism for inertia dampening at all levels.

    In Facebook's case this key inertia dampening function should be implemented via properly distributed, personal control, over all our private and public facing data as well as open federated repositories for all the internet wide semantic meta data collected by Facebook, Google and others.

    Like a run away nuclear reactor, complex network effects, can quickly fall prey to out of control exponential run away acceleration. So much of our new social graph is made up of careless, unproductive, social interconnect accelerants that serve little or no real social need. We need to save our social graph powder for meaningful things like collective political and banking control and not waste it allowing ourselves to become commoditized consumer serfs for the connivence of corporate overlords.

    This social graph gold rush, land grab, has sparked an immensely creative array of, run before you learn to walk, social network effect experiments.

    The difference between these new cyber creations and those of the previous industrial revolution seem to be largely under recognized. This thing is not like the printing press or steam engine, this thing is organic, alive, it can take on a life of its own faster than you can say network effect.

    These tools don't just extend our ability to amplify/accelerate communications and materials execution, these cyber tools reach right down into the underlying roots, the very fabric of human organizational dynamics . These tools are more like a biological rewrite. They rewire us all together like parts of giant living organism, a new collective neurological social exoskeleton, a new borg like cerebral cortex, connecting us all into a group consciousness, the noosphere.

    Only fools rush into network effect social construction without the mandatory inertia dampening tools required to keep the whole thing from going postal on us all.

    Mark Zuckerberg is just one such fool. A brilliant fool, yes maybe, but a dangerous fool none the less. He is in over his head, he lacks the interdisciplinary vision to lead us to the promised land and we should all speak up loud and clear with a resounding, we will not follow!

  64. Actually, I think most of us thought that we had a public and private social space. LinkedIn is public. Facebook is private. Most people are not celebrities like you, so they don't need the sort of casual public space you have with a fan page. Most of us are just professionals. We don't have “fans” but we do need to project a public persona.

    Facebook really should have understood this before exposing private family photos to everybody on Google.

    It's pretty simple. Ask people what they want on Facebook to be available on Google. If you do this, you'll find out most of them want most of Facebook off of Google.

    The only reason normal people won't quit Facebook is because they don't even know about these changes. They'll have to discover them when something bad happens.

    Once you lose somebody's trust, it's hard to gain it back. Giants do fall. Facebook should be more careful.

  65. Everybody: If you have great ideas, join the Diaspora project and contribute to it. Unless you're getting *paid* to give advice to Zuckerberg, don't waste the energy.

  66. True, at this stage of development, you are a fool to expect any privacy guaranty for anything you post on the web. Still, no reason to capitulate to that temporary nascent reality as a design goal moving forward.

    Even biological cellular exchange systems maintain selective privacy barriers in the face of massive public facing intercellular signaling or we would all be dead. With the network effect, social structures, we are now building we better step up to the plate and meet these mandatory, complex adaptive system, design constraints. No amount of naive, youthful, cavalier dismal or denial will shelter us from social network system crashes that will inevitable ensue if we fail to heed the heads up, the cheat sheet, natural living systems have provide to us. Some statistical failure in selective privacy barrier execution is tolerable in any living adaptive system but to abandon such mechanisms would be to sign our own, network economy, death warrant.

    Many things are semi private. You don't necessarily want to share certain things with everyone but you could live with that outcome as a worst case trade off against the power & connivence of having a networked sharing systems like Facebook. But that is no excuse for being cavalier about privacy, users also have every right to expect and demand an honest effort on behave of the network service provider to maintain your privacy control wishes. The more secret the info the more robust the selective privacy mechanism all the way up to the ultimate secrecy level, don't put it on a network.

  67. “because they view Facebook (and Twitter) as “social” networks.”

    Yes, these people may well be naive!

    I may be wrong but doesn't facebook advertise itself as a social network for friends with support for selective privacy controls?

  68. It might be a good idea for you to hide your exact birthday and address. This information can aid an identity thief and as a well known public figure you are more of a target than the average joe.

    Thoughts?

  69. I escaped the whole vi vs. emacs thing. Our VAX didn't have enough memory for people to use emacs, so they deleted it and forced us to use vi. ;-)

  70. Also, keep in mind they did this with the intention of search gold – tricking people into thinking they were private – finding out they weren't private and pretending they were helping people find their way back to privacy. Any fool who doesn't believe they did that to get everyones data index'd is a blithering fool IMHO.

  71. Martyn,

    Scoble blog/style is in debate format which suits the internet perfectly. Where techcrunch is a firehose of either worthless information or worthy information ….Scoble always has good content to wrap your noggin around. I believe this is why people always come back to his blog. :-)

  72. I'm glad I stopped posting to Facebook months ago. It always seemed like a flashy marketplace to me minus interesting people who wanted to discuss their ideas, network with the right people and make friends. It did cause me to straighten out my priorities thou and I may come back in the future but only to market my business. I have separated my personality from Facebook. I may only do business with Facebook but I sure won 't be posting anything kinky in it such as my fetishes, sexual practices and how much I enjoy hanging myself naked upside down in a closet :)

  73. “….. (I handled it by changing all my privacy settings to as public as possible……”

    Ditto. Me too. A long time ago. But for it was not about privacy. I don't accept friend requests from people I don't know but I want them to be able to see and experience my Facebook page if they really want to. What the heck.

    Robert. My current Facebook account is also my second. Facebook deleted my first one. Great minds ….. wait, getting an account deleted is not exactly us thinking, but still.

  74. This sheds some light on so the reason for Mr Scoble's support for Mr Zuckerberg, something I have fished for in my recent discussion posts. Thanks